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10 quirky things to do and places to go on a first date in Manchester


Unusual first dates in Manchester allow you to avoid falling into the trap of predictability. Getting together for a bit of scran will always be a safe bet, but sometimes you want to do something a little different from a cheeky Nandos and another trip to the cinema.

For those days when peri peri chicken and sweet and salty popcorn just won’t do, we’ve put together a list of places that are sure to woo your significant other. Let’s face it, nothing says ‘I love you’ like letting them win in a game of crazy golf or going in for a kiss under the late night Manchester sky.

Have a drink at one of Manchester’s hidden bars

Arcane or Be Impossible are the ones to watch. Arcane is our absolute fave. It’s pretty low key, as the name might suggest. Blink and you might miss it as you head down South King Street from Deansgate. It’s bad and it’s boojee, with slick Victorian decor evocative of the golden age of cocktail-making. It’s the kind of bar you would take that friend from out of town who thinks he’s seen and done everything. But they haven’t been to Arcane. When they do, they’ll be begging to stick around for another round. The drinks are fresh and the beer is ice cold. Your date will be chuffed. Trust us.

Go axe throwing at the Great Northern

Nothing says ‘I love you’ like breaking out a chainsaw or axe. Is there any better way of getting rid of your frustrations? Yes, axe throwing a la Game of Thrones. But not at your partner. If you want to spice up your love life, we reckon this makes for a pretty quirky first date option. But you’ll probably want to be sure your date is a pacifist before bringing them. Step aside, Jon Snow.

Breakout of a Forsaken room

Let’s be honest, the traditional cabin in the woods scenario is a horror movie classic. It’s a theme that’s terrified couples for years. Girls burying their faces into shoulders, boys pretending they’re not in the least bit concerned. Breakout is the ultimate date night. Teams of 2 – 5 have 60 minutes to escape a locked room using only brain power. So if you’re wanting to test out your date’s IQ before you commit to anything, this is the place to take them. Plus, if there’s one thing that’s sure to earn you a few brownie points it’s breaking your true love out of a Forsaken room. Book in here.

Karaoke it up at Tiger Tiger

Hit up a karaoke bar and the one on the top floor of Tiger Tiger always makes for a good time. To find out how tone deaf your potential new beau/belle is and gain some important intel on his or her musical preferences, is there any better first date? You can tell a lot about a person from their choice of karaoke songs. Hint: it’s a definite red flag if they choose Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’. Bittersweet Symphony is another story.

Splurge on high tea at a fancy hotel

If you want to show your date that you’re a class act, put on your best clobber and maybe some sling backs and head to high tea in the city. There are plenty of places to go with The Midland, Malmaison and Great John Street Hotel three of the absolute best. Think delicate finger sandwiches and three tier stands with light crusty scones and rich clotted cream, jam and homemade cakes. You can even add a glass of the bubbly good stuff if you really want to push the boat out. It may not be as unique as axe throwing but it’ll make your date want to bring you home to meet mum and dad.

Take a dip in the infinity pool at King Street Townhouse

King Street Townhouse knows how to put on a good show. They boast a rooftop infinity pool. Yes, the type James Bond takes his lady friends to in almost every film. Jump into its crystal clear depths or look out at the panoramic views of the city as you sip on a vodka martini (shaken not stirred) and hold your true love’s hand. But let’s not get carried away. This is a first date after all. PS King Street Tavern downstairs does some of the best comfort food in the city. The drinks aren’t bad either.

Head up to the Goodlee Observatory

Remember when Ross kissed Rachel at the observatory in Friends and it became one of the most iconic scenes in sitcom history? Even if you don’t, it made many gals fall in love with the idea of being brought to an observatory. Regardless of whether or not your date is a Friends fan, staring at the stars – and then into each others eyes – rarely makes for a bad date.

Grab a coffee at Ziferblat – in case you need a quick exit

Here’s a good one for all of those Tinder daters out there. If you don’t know how long you’re going to spend, head to Ziferblat and enjoy fresh coffee and baked goods for free. The décor is trendy and you only pay for the time you spend – which is pretty good if you’re thinking of making a quick exit.

Share a plate of good stuff

Sharing is caring and some places in Manchester do sharing plates so well you really needn’t go in for anything else. Sam’s Chop House is one of them. They’ve solved that age- old dilemma of when you’re out to dinner and everything on the menu sounds so amazing that you just can’t make up your mind on what to order. They’ve introduced sharing plates with the idea of bringing back the art of conversation – perfect when you’re trying to get to know the person you’ve swiped right on. And what better for a first date than food that’s wholesome and fresh, cooked using only locally sourced ingredients. The newest addition to the Chop House blackboard specials are L.S. Lowry’s Cow Pie (Tuesdays), The Big Pork Chop (Wednesdays), 20oz Cotê De Boeuf (Thursdays) and Fisherman’s Stew (Fridays). Asha’s is another great bet if you’re in the mood for sharing and fancy leaving decision-making at the door. Order up the keema fries and thank us later.

Putt your way through Junkyard Golf

Is a date complete if you’re not knocking balls into holes? Get your mind out of the gutter because we’re talking Junkyard Golf. It’s boojie and boozy. The sort of place you can take a date and know you’re in for an all round good time. It takes the golfing concept to the next level, with more courses, bigger and more dramatic immersive environments and a refreshed food and drinks offer. They’re having a venue launch on the 31st August to celebrate their move to First Street so why not get yourself down there? It’s sure to make your date feel like you’re a real VIP. If you want tickets, click here.

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